Recycler wins support to plant fewer trees

March 17, 1994|By Donna E. Boller | Donna E. Boller,Sun Staff Writer

A recycling corporation that plans to remove lead-laden ash from an old pit in Finksburg won support last night from Carroll's Environmental Affairs Advisory Board (EAAB) for reduced tree-planting requirements on the property.

The board's action becomes a recommendation to the county environmental services administrator, James E. Slater Jr.

Mr. Slater said last night that he is "not sure yet" whether he will follow the recommendation to reduce Phoenix Recycling Inc.'s planting obligation under the county forest conservation ordinance from 3 acres to .4 acre of trees at the site.

Waste Management Inc., which owns Phoenix Recycling, plans to remove coal ash containing lead from one of two pits on the property. James L. Loveland, regional environmental manager for Waste Management, told the EAAB last night that corporate officials decided to remove the ash from the north pit because it is closer to ground water than the south pit, and thus poses a greater potential danger of future contamination.

Mr. Loveland said tests revealed no contaminants are leaching from the pits now.

Waste Management representatives said they cannot meet county forest conservation ordinance requirements on the property without creating problems of traffic access and parking space.

Board members concurred with EAAB Chairwoman Teresa Bamberger, who said she thought authors of the forest conservation ordinance had development, not potential contaminant mitigation, in mind when the ordinance was drafted.

"What you're doing is creating environmental benefits," she said. "I'm less concerned with meeting the letter of the ordinance, because I think this meets the intent."

Mr. Slater said he has "several things to think about" before he decides whether he'll approve the variance, but he declined to identify them. He said he expects to make a decision within two weeks.

Carroll's forest conservation ordinance requires the board's concurrence on the variance if Mr. Slater approves it. The board is not legally required to agree if he denies it.

Mr. Loveland said Waste Management is seeking quick action because it has a May 29 deadline for using money in an escrow account established to cover mitigation of environmental problems. The escrow account was established when Waste Management bought the property two years ago. After the deadline, money in the account reverts to the seller, he said.

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